"A Christmas Carol" Engaged Audiences in Advent Celebration
In December, The FCS Players presented A Christmas Carol, the Gospel According to Ebenezer Scrooge, as a combined production featuring the FCS Players and Awesome After School Drama (sponsored, produced and directed by FCS Alum, Lindsay Roberts and assisted by me and my wife Anne, as well as FCS students Lydia Crist and Gillian Greathouse, with the supporting sponsorship of the Yuba City First United Methodist Church).
The combination of children, high school students and adults in the cast made for an engaging and far-reaching production and a great theatrical and holiday experience for young and old alike. The “audience participation” element of the Revels style of show truly engaged the audience; they sang along, danced, prayed, cheered and applauded as the performers brought the show to life. Audience responses to this format – and to the show overall – have been universally jubilant and overwhelmingly positive!
We received approximately 100 comment cards during the show sharing how the production touched audience members spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. Audience members related that they laughed and wept (as Dickens did when he wrote A Christmas Carol!); that the production truly helped them and their family prepare for and enter into the spirit of the Advent and Christmas season; that many understood and were blessed by the powerful Gospel message contained within the play; that many were deeply impressed by the professionalism of the production and the performers.
As a cast and crew, during the many hours we prepared, we have shared many times in class what we have learned about ourselves, each other and about God in producing the play; a very important part of our theatre program is to go “beneath the surface” of the play, the characters and ourselves – to pray, to share, to research and to work to understand both the spirit and the underlying message of any work we present and to bring that life, light, joy and love to our audiences and to ourselves. In a sense, producing this play has been our“Advent journey” of preparation to welcome the Babe born in Bethlehem into our hearts and lives anew!
More than 100 students, staff, parents, grandparents, community members, businesses, church members and staff and area theatre professionals gave their time, talents and resources to make A Christmas Carol happen; this has been true for every production we have done over the past 24 years. To all who co-labored in this labor of love – the adults, the kids, the families, the friends – this was truly your creation as well as mine – and all for God and to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior!
We lost one of our founding members of the FCS Players this year during our production process – Rev. John Sheppard, former pastor of the Yuba City First United Methodist Church – himself an FCS Player and a powerful supporter and advocate for our program and for Faith Christian School. See the tribute (as was printed in the program) on our website.
This Advent and Christmas season, may the True Spirit of Christmas – Our Heavenly Father, His blessed Son, and the gracious and comforting Holy Spirit – visit you and yours again and again – and abide with you through the coming New Year and always!
Wishing you God’s perfect grace, peace and love –
Paul DeMeritt & the Cast and Crew of
A Christmas Carol!